Job 36

Listen to Job 36

Elihu Extols God's Greatness

1 And Elihu continued, and said:
2 "Bear with me a little, and I will show you, for I have yet something to say on God's behalf.
3 I will get my knowledge from 1afar and ascribe 2righteousness to my 3Maker.
4 For truly my words are not false; one who is 4perfect in knowledge is with you.
5 "Behold, God is mighty, and 5does not despise any; he is 6mighty in strength of understanding.
6 He does not keep the wicked alive, but gives 7the afflicted their right.
7 He does not withdraw his 8eyes from the righteous, but with 9kings on the throne he sets them forever, and they are 10exalted.
8 And if they are 11bound in chains and caught in the cords of affliction,
9 then he declares to them their work and their transgressions, that they are 12behaving arrogantly.
10 He 13opens their ears to instruction and commands that they 14return from iniquity.
11 15If they listen and serve him, they 16complete their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasantness.
12 But if they do not listen, they 17perish by the sword and die 18without knowledge.
13 "The 19godless in heart cherish anger; they do not cry for help when he 20binds them.
14 They 21die in youth, and their life ends among the cult prostitutes.
15 He delivers 22the afflicted by their affliction and 23opens their ear by adversity.
16 He also allured you out of distress into 24a broad place where there was no cramping, and what was set on your 25table was full of 26fatness.
17 "But you are full of the judgment on the wicked; judgment and justice seize you.
18 Beware lest wrath entice you into scoffing, and let not the greatness of 27the ransom turn you aside.
19 Will your 28cry for help avail to keep you from distress, or all the force of your strength?
20 Do not long for 29the night, when peoples vanish 30in their place.
21 Take care; 31do not turn to iniquity, for this you have chosen rather than affliction.
22 Behold, God is exalted in his power; who is 32a teacher like him?
23 Who has 33prescribed for him his way, or who can say, 34'You have done wrong'?
24 "Remember to 35extol his work, of which men have 36sung.
25 All mankind has looked on it; man beholds it from afar.
26 Behold, God is great, and we 37know him not; the number of his 38years is unsearchable.
27 For he draws up the drops of water; they distill his 39mist in 40rain,
28 which 41the skies pour down and drop on mankind abundantly.
29 Can anyone understand 42the spreading of the clouds, the thunderings of his 43pavilion?
30 Behold, he scatters his lightning about him and covers the roots of the sea.
31 For by these he 44judges peoples; he gives 45food in abundance.
32 He covers his 46hands with the lightning and commands it to strike the mark.
33 Its crashing declares his presence;[a] the cattle also declare that he rises.

Job 36 Commentary

Chapter 36

Elihu desires Job's attention. (1-4) The methods in which God deals with men. (5-14) Elihu counsels Job. (15-23) The wonders in the works of creation. (24-33)

Verses 1-4 Elihu only maintained that the affliction was sent for his trial; and lengthened because Job was not yet thoroughly humbled under it. He sought to ascribe righteousness to his Maker; to clear this truth, that God is righteous in all his ways. Such knowledge must be learned from the word and Spirit of God, for naturally we are estranged from it. The fitness of Elihu's discourse to the dispute between Job and his friends is plain. It pointed out to Job the true reason of those trials with which he had been pointed out to Job the true reason of those trials with which he had been visited. It taught that God had acted in mercy towards him, and the spiritual benefit he was to derive from them. It corrected the mistake of his friends, and showed that Job's calamities were for good.

Verses 5-14 Elihu here shows that God acts as righteous Governor. He is always ready to defend those that are injured. If our eye is ever toward God in duty, his eye will be ever upon us in mercy, and, when we are at the lowest, will not overlook us. God intends, when he afflicts us, to discover past sins to us, and to bring them to our remembrance. Also, to dispose our hearts to be taught: affliction makes people willing to learn, through the grace of God working with and by it. And further, to deter us from sinning for the future. It is a command, to have no more to do with sin. If we faithfully serve God, we have the promise of the life that now is, and the comforts of it, as far as is for God's glory and our good: and who would desire them any further? We have the possession of inward pleasures, the great peace which those have that love God's law. If the affliction fail in its work, let men expect the furnace to be heated till they are consumed. Those that die without knowledge, die without grace, and are undone for ever. See the nature of hypocrisy; it lies in the heart: that is for the world and the flesh, while perhaps the outside seems to be for God and religion. Whether sinners die in youth, or live long to heap up wrath, their case is dreadful. The souls of the wicked live after death, but it is in everlasting misery.

Verses 15-23 Elihu shows that Job caused the continuance of his own trouble. He cautions him not to persist in frowardness. Even good men need to be kept to their duty by the fear of God's wrath; the wisest and best have enough in them to deserve his stroke. Let not Job continue his unjust quarrel with God and his providence. And let us never dare to think favourably of sin, never indulge it, nor allow ourselves in it. Elihu thinks Job needed this caution, he having chosen rather to gratify his pride and humour by contending with God, than to mortify them by submitting, and accepting the punishment. It is absurd for us to think to teach Him who is himself the Fountain of light, truth, knowledge, and instruction. He teaches by the Bible, and that is the best book; teaches by his Son, and he is the best Master. He is just in all proceedings.

Verses 24-33 Elihu endeavours to fill Job with high thought of God, and so to persuade him into cheerful submission to his providence. Man may see God's works, and is capable of discerning his hand in them, which the beasts are not, therefore they ought to give him the glory. But while the worker of iniquity ought to tremble, the true believer should rejoice. Children should hear with pleasure their Father's voice, even when he speaks in terror to his enemies. There is no light but there may be a cloud to intercept it. The light of the favour of God, the light of his countenance, the most blessed light of all, even that light has many a cloud. The clouds of our sins cause the Lord to his face, and hinder the light of his loving-kindness from shining on our souls.

Cross References 46

  • 1. [Psalms 78:2]
  • 2. [Revelation 15:3, 4; Revelation 16:5, 7; Revelation 19:1, 2]
  • 3. Job 35:10
  • 4. Job 37:16
  • 5. Job 8:20(Heb.); [Psalms 138:6]
  • 6. Job 9:4; Job 12:13, 16
  • 7. ver. 15; Job 34:28
  • 8. [Psalms 33:18; Psalms 34:15]
  • 9. Psalms 132:12; [Psalms 113:8]
  • 10. Psalms 75:10
  • 11. ver. 13; Psalms 107:10
  • 12. Job 15:25
  • 13. Job 33:16
  • 14. Jeremiah 18:11
  • 15. For ver. 11, 12, see Isaiah 1:19, 20
  • 16. Job 21:13
  • 17. Job 33:18
  • 18. [Job 4:21]; See Job 35:16
  • 19. Job 15:34
  • 20. ver. 8
  • 21. Job 15:32; Job 22:16; Psalms 55:23
  • 22. ver. 6; See Job 33:15-28
  • 23. ver. 10; [Psalms 119:67, 71]
  • 24. [Job 37:10; Psalms 4:1; Psalms 18:19; Psalms 31:8; Psalms 118:5]
  • 25. Psalms 23:5
  • 26. Psalms 36:8
  • 27. Job 33:24
  • 28. Proverbs 11:4
  • 29. Job 27:20; Job 34:20, 25
  • 30. Job 40:12
  • 31. Psalms 66:18
  • 32. Job 34:32; Job 35:11
  • 33. Job 34:13; [Isaiah 40:13, 14; Romans 11:34; 1 Corinthians 2:16]
  • 34. [Job 34:10]
  • 35. Luke 1:46; [Psalms 92:5; Revelation 15:3]
  • 36. [Job 33:27; Psalms 104:33]
  • 37. [Job 37:5; 1 Corinthians 13:12]
  • 38. Psalms 90:2; Psalms 102:27
  • 39. Genesis 2:6(Heb.)
  • 40. Psalms 147:8
  • 41. Proverbs 3:20; [Deuteronomy 33:28]
  • 42. [Job 26:9]
  • 43. Psalms 18:11; Psalms 105:39
  • 44. Job 37:13
  • 45. Psalms 104:27, 28; Psalms 136:25; Psalms 145:15; Psalms 147:9; Acts 14:17
  • 46. Habakkuk 3:4

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Hebrew declares concerning him

Chapter Summary


This chapter, with the following, contains Elihu's fourth and last discourse, the principal view of which is to vindicate the righteousness of God; which is done by observing the dealings of God with men in his providence, according to their different characters, and from the wonderful works wrought by him in a sovereign manner, and for the benefit of his creatures. This chapter is introduced with a preface, the design of which is to gain attention, Job 36:1-4; the different dealings of God with men are observed, and the different issue of them, and the different ends answered thereby, Job 36:5-15; and it is suggested to Job, that had he attended to the design of the providence he was under, and had submitted to it patiently, things would have been otherwise with him; and therefore Elihu proceeds to give him some advice, which, if taken, would be for his own good, and the glory of God, Job 36:16-25; and closes the chapter by observing the unsearchable greatness of God, as appears by the works of nature wrought by him, Job 36:26-33.

Job 36 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.